It will cost developers more money to build in Horsham under a proposed ordinance that would nearly triple the traffic impact fees paid for new construction.
The Horsham Township Council introduced an ordinance to establish its new transportation impact fees during Wednesday's meeting. The proposed ordinance, which is slated for an early January adoption, is the final step needed to update Horsham's 20-year-old Act 209 Plan, which sets the amount developers pay.
The original plan set traffic impact fees at $826 for the eastern portion of the 17-square-mile township and $480 for the western portion of the township. As proposed, the fees would increase to $2,366 for the east and $2,235 for the west, according to Horsham Township Manager Bill Walker.
Traffic impact fees are worked into a fairly complicated formula which takes into account the anticipated number of new trips generated from any given project.
Besides the fee boost - which Walker said is largely based on increases in traffic improvement costs - the proposed ordinance would include the entire 1,100-acre Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove.
"The line for the map is drawn in a way that it divides the base," Walker said. "The whole entire property of the base is now included in the plan."
With the exception of the 238-acre Horsham Air Guard Station, the bulk of the air base closed in September 2011 and is awaiting an expansive mixed-use redevelopmentmore than 1,400 homes, a new middle school for Hatboro-Horsham School District, a 13-acre aviation museum, a 133-acre office park projected to create more than 7,000 jobs, a robust town center and more.
And, since early base redevelopment could potentially begin in 2016, Walker said the township wanted to have new fees in place well in advance.
"We have roads to put through there and we need money to do that," Walker said.
The proposed ordinance would be in place through 2023, at which time it would need to be reviewed and most likely the fees would be updated, Walker said.
Township Councilman Gregory Nesbitt said the ordinance would require that a developer's transportation impact fees be used in the geographic area of the land development.
Horsham Township engineer Russell Dunlevy of Gilmore and Associates Inc., said that the fees would be used to help cover various upgrades, including roadway widening and signalization, as well as improvements for future boulevards.
Fees would be applicable to both township and state-owned roads, Dunlevy said. Although, developers could only provide 50 percent of the cost to upgrade a state road.
"The rest would have to come from PennDOT or the township," Dunlevy said. "There’s a different allocation for township roads."